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Social Media in the Workplace

Tony Green Comp II Essay 3 Social Media in the Workplace A growing hot topic, and cause for concern is the increasing use of social media in the workplace. The landscape for communication has changed, and the line between personal and professional communications has been blurred. How will your employer manage the risks associated with the use of social media and at the same time, gain the benefits that this media form provides?

While many employers were initially concerned that employees would use company time and equipment for socializing with friends, they are quickly learning that many social networks can also be used directly for work purposes.

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In today’s competitive workplace, emerging professionals should spend as much time using online tools for professional knowledge and development, as they do developing their social life and personal interests.

Supervisors are learning that social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, blogs, wikis, text messaging or discussion groups can be used to engage other employees in discussions, and cultivate conversations between teams across geographic, and other boundaries. Speaking to business partners ashore and abound has never been easier, and can be accomplished today with the click of a button. Social media can also be a profitable sales and marketing tool. Through social media, business professionals now have the ability to advertise, promote, and publicize their products and services without ever having to leave their homes.

There is no other low-cost promotional method out there that will easily give you large numbers of visitors, some of whom may come back to your website again and again. In fact, the benefits in most cases exceed the cost. It would take you thousands of dollars to buy several links; social media has the ability to give you that for free. Social Media doesn’t, “Guarantee” that you will make money. Every site or business that wants to expand and become profitable, needs a core group of supporters who will be willing to make purchases or recommend the site to others.

Your site needs to perpetuate itself. The more supporters you have, the faster word spreads about your site. Social media marketing is an excellent way to get people to come into your site to take a look at what you have to offer. You will grow when there are a group of loyal visitors ready to always act upon what you have to offer. Accompanying all actions, there are equal, and opposite reactions. Just as there are many benefits of social media in the workplace, there are many not-so-beneficial attributes associated with allowing social networking in your workplace.

Time management is obviously the most important issue for all of us with always-on technologies of communication. Today we can record conversations, take pictures, check email, and visit networking sites through our own telephones. Extended smoke breaks are no longer in the picture when compared to the amount of time employees are using during work to reconnect with friends and family. When that technology is used to view, collect or disseminate inappropriate content, again employers have cause for concern.

Use of workplace computers to access and distribute pornography, for example, frequently results in discipline and workplace harassment complaints. In some cases it can even result in serious criminal investigations. Social Media is growing upward, fast! If you can’t keep up with it, at the very least keep track of it. Most importantly, usage of social media in the workplace must be regulated. Guidelines must be set, and signed verifications must be documented. This media frenzy can be your best business partner, or your worst piece of evidence against you. Which side do you want to be on?